Botham’s charity spent £97.5k last year – but none went on “charitable activities”

  1. Beefy’s Charity Foundation (BCF) is a grant-making charity – or at least its supposed to be (registered charity number: 1151516). In the year to 31 March 2017, ex-cricketer Sir Ian Botham’s charity made no grants despite income of £136.8k, the latest accounts, the charity’s fourth, show.
  2. BCF spent £97.5k last year but none went on “charitable activities”. Almost all, 97 per cent, was fundraising costs – £94.2k.
  3. Note 5 in the accounts states that the fundraising costs include “planning and upfront costs” for two events at the end of 2017: the Australia Walk, Sir Ian’s “final charity walk”; and in quick succession the “Run Out” dinner, in London. “Income from both of these events will be shown in next year’s accounts”, it adds.
  4. In 2016, I exclusively exposed BCF’s repeated failure in the three previous years’ accounts to disclose in full its business model (see 13 September 2016 and 21 October 2016 posts). Well, that non-disclosure continues in the fourth year. Neither the latest trustees’ annual report (TAR) nor the accounts identify or refer in any way to Sola Events Limited, the commercial events company (registered company number: 08506142), and its involvement with the charity. Yet the BCF website shows that the firm was involved in the organisation of both the Australia Walk (screen shot in Figure 1) and the “Run Out” dinner (screen shot in Figure 2). It was also behind the Indiana Masters 2016 event, for example, which took place in April that year, within the relevant reporting period (screen shot in Figure 3).

    Figure 1. Australia Walk on BCF website at 31 March 2018

    Figure 2. “Run Out” dinner booking form on BCF website at 31 March 2018

    Figure 3. Indiana Masters 2016 on BCF website at 31 March 2018

  5. Who is the owner and sole director of Sola Events Limited? Sarah Botham, er, daughter of Sir Ian. As I wrote on 13 September 2016, Ms Botham and her company are both related parties to BCF. And again, neither the latest TAR nor the accounts disclose the related-party transactions – the transactions between the charity and Sola Events Limited/Ms Botham, the related parties. Further, as before, neither the latest TAR nor the accounts reveal or consider the actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest for BCF in working with Sola Events Limited. (The conflict of interest arises through the family relationship.)
  6. On 13 September 2016, I urged BCF to be clearer and more transparent about its business model in its financial reporting. It didn’t listen. I made the same point again on 21 October 2016, after the charity that month filed its accounts for 31 March 2016, its third set. It’s disappointing – but predictable – that BCF‘s latest financial documents, for 31 March 2017, persist in hiding both Sola Events Limited and its role in organising the charity’s high-profile events. A new concern is that the charity made no grants last year despite income of £136.8k. That almost all its £97.5k expenditure was actually fundraising costs adds to the concern.
  7. In conclusion, the nature of last year’s spending only increases the need for full disclosure at BCF.
  8. There’s no suggestion that anyone has done anything illegal.
  9. When asked to comment on the fact that none of BCF’s £97.5k expenditure last year went on “charitable activities”, while nearly all was fundraising costs, trustee Douglas Osborne in an email simply referred to note 5 of the accounts (see above). Despite my request, he didn’t address the ongoing non-disclosure. Mr Osborne wrote only: “As we have previously pointed out there are no related-party transactions as [sic] between Sola Events and the Foundation.” I also asked the trustee in the same email to comment on the conflict of interest for BCF in working with Sola Events Limited, including non-disclosure of the conflict of interest; but Mr Osborne said nothing about these issues.

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